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PRISMA 2020 Checklist Example

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The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement was first published in 2009 as a guideline to promote transparency in the reporting of systematic reviews. In 2020, the PRISMA statement example was updated to catch up with changes in technologies and methodologies used in the research process. The new version comes with a revised PRISMA flow diagram, with different templates depending on the type of systematic review (for example, a new review or a continually updated “living” review), as well as an updated checklist. The latter still contains 27 items, listing everything that must be included in a systematic review. You can find examples and a full breakdown of the list on the PRISMA website, and you can also read below for a quick guide.

The PRISMA 2020 Checklist

Below are all 27 items included in the PRISMA 2020 checklist.

Title, Abstract, Introduction

  • Title: Identifies the report as a systematic review and points to its main topic
  • Abstract: Summarizes the key elements of the systematic review, including the background, methods, findings, and interpretation of the results
  • Rationale: Describes the reasoning behind undertaking the systematic review
    Objectives: Explicitly states the questions that the review addresses


  • Eligibility criteria: Specifies the standard used to determine whether studies are included or excluded in the systematic review, as well as how studies are grouped for synthesis
  • Information sources: Specifies all the sources used, searched, or consulted to identify studies, including search dates
  • Search strategy: Shows the system used to identify different studies to be included in the systematic review
  • Selection process: Details the methods used to decide whether or not a study fits the pre-determined eligibility criteria
  • Data collection process: Explains the different methods used to gather data from the selected sources
  • Data items: Lists and defines all outcomes and other variables for which data were sought
  • Study risk of bias assessment: Specifies the methods used to determine the presence of bias in the included studies
  • Effect measures: Specifies the effect measures used for each outcome; these summarize the strength of the link between exposures and outcomes
  • Synthesis methods: Describes in detail all the processes undertaken to synthesize evidence/data gathered in the systematic review
  • Reporting bias assessment: Describes methods used to assess bias arising from missing results
  • Certainty assessment: Describes methods used to assess certainty or confidence in the outcomes


  • Study selection: Presents the results of the search and selection process, typically also using a flow diagram
  • Study characteristics: Cites and presents the characteristics of each study included in the review
  • Risk of bias in studies: Presents bias risk assessment for the included studies
  • Results of individual studies: Details summary statistics and effect estimates for all outcomes, typically using structured tables and plots
  • Results of syntheses: Presents the results of the evidence/data synthesized in the systematic review, including statistical analyses
  • Reporting biases: Presents the assessment of bias risk arising from missing results
  • Certainty of evidence: Presents the assessment of certainty or confidence in the outcomes

Discussion, Other Information

  • Discussion: Provides a general interpretation of the results of the review in context with existing evidence, as well as limitations and implications of the study
  • Registration and protocol: Shows the registration information for the review and how to access the study protocol
  • Support: Lists any sources of financial and non-financial support received for the systematic review, and the role of the funders
  • Competing interests: Declares any competing interests that the authors may have
  • Availability of data, code, and other materials: Reports how to access data, analytic code, and other materials used in the review

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More on PRISMA From DistillerSR

PRISMA is an important guideline that every systematic review author must be familiar with in order to publish a transparent and organized manuscript. It coordinates the processes required to conduct a systematic review, even if you’re using software like DistillerSR to help you do it. Learn more about PRISMA 2020 reporting with DistillerSR.

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